STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

'Hello Dolly' star Carol Channing dead at 97

Legendary and beloved Broadway star Carol Channing has died, her publicist Harlan Boll confirmed to CNN.

Posted: Jan 15, 2019 10:52 PM
Updated: Jan 15, 2019 10:59 PM

Legendary Broadway star Carol Channing has died, her publicist, Harlan Boll, told CNN on Tuesday.

She was 97.

With her raspy voice and huge smile, Channing was best known for her Tony Award-winning role as Dolly Levi in the hit Broadway musical "Hello Dolly!"

Fellow stars of the stage and screen, including "Hamilton" creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda, paid tribute to Channing on social media Tuesday.

The current touring company for "Hello Dolly!" released a statement Tuesday on the star's death.

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of the one and only Carol Channing. She was a 'Dolly' for the ages, and a true icon of the American Theater. Betty Buckley and the cast will dedicate tonight's performance in San Diego to her memory."

The actress was born in Seattle to George Channing, a newspaper editor, and his wife, Adelaide.

She grew up in San Francisco, where her parents were devout members of the Christian Science religion and her father a popular lecturer for the church.

It was her religion that first led her to the theater. Channing and her mother would stand outside venues to distribute copies of The Christian Science Monitor.

Carol Channing fast facts

Years later Channing also found out that her father had been harboring a secret.

He was listed as "colored" on his birth certificate because of his mother, though his father was Nordic German.

Channing told CNN's Larry King in 2002 that she was proud of her mixed heritage.

"I was 16 years old and my mother told me," she said. "And you know, only the reaction on me was, 'Gee, I got the greatest genes in show business.' "

After a brief stint in college, Channing moved to New York, where she made her stage debut in "Never Take No for an Answer" and was an understudy in "Let's Face It."

But her role as the diamond-loving showgirl Lorelei Lee in the Broadway musical "Gentleman Prefer Blondes" in 1949 made her a star. Channing lost out on the role in the 1953 film adaptation to Marilyn Monroe.

Broadway continued to be her showcase, and she had another big hit in 1964 as Dolly Gallagher Levi in "Hello Dolly!"

It became the role that would help to define her career, and she reprised it in multiple productions over the decades.

"It was all special," Channing told Broadway World in 2014 of her favorite memories of the original production in honor of the 50th anniversary of the musical. "I suppose that sounds cliché, but it's true. Every bit of the production, from opening night to the last night of the tour."

She won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Academy Award for the role of Muzzy Van Hossmere in the 1967 movie musical "Thoroughly Modern Millie." The film would forever have Channing identified with the now iconic line "Raspberries!"

Channing also became a darling on the small screen, appearing on TV quiz shows and other programs including "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In," "The Love Boat," "Touched by an Angel" and "Family Guy."

The actress was married four times: to writer Theodore Naidish, Canadian football player Alex Carson, her manager and publicist Charles Lowe, and childhood sweetheart Harry Kullijian.

Channing and Kullijian, a former city councilman in Modesto, California, reunited 70 years after they attended middle school together and married in 2003. He died of an aneurism in 2011.

The following year her life and career was celebrated in the documentary "Carol Channing: Larger Than Life."

Channing continued to work well into her 90s. She was hailed throughout her long-running career, including being inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1981 and receiving a lifetime achievement award from the Tonys and the Drama Critics Circle in 1995 and 1996, respectively.

She is survived by her son, cartoonist Channing Carson.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 72254

Reported Deaths: 3023
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15503725
Lake7447274
Elkhart476082
Allen3789161
St. Joseph337381
Hamilton2668105
Vanderburgh188813
Hendricks1833106
Cass17749
Johnson1719118
Porter126639
Clark117846
Tippecanoe117711
Madison91565
LaPorte88330
Howard87265
Kosciusko84012
Marshall77122
Bartholomew76647
Floyd76045
Monroe72230
Delaware70152
Dubois67612
Boone66246
Noble65929
Hancock64138
Vigo58610
Jackson5725
Warrick57030
LaGrange55610
Shelby54227
Grant52130
Dearborn49328
Morgan45934
Clinton4093
Henry37320
Wayne35410
White35410
Montgomery34821
Lawrence33627
Decatur33232
Harrison32123
Putnam2868
Miami2672
Daviess26320
Scott26310
Greene24634
Franklin23813
Jasper2272
DeKalb2264
Jennings22012
Gibson2144
Steuben2063
Ripley1977
Fayette1837
Perry18112
Carroll1772
Starke1767
Posey1670
Orange16624
Wabash1633
Wells1622
Fulton1612
Jefferson1552
Whitley1506
Knox1490
Tipton1336
Spencer1313
Washington1311
Huntington1213
Newton11510
Randolph1154
Clay1095
Sullivan1031
Adams952
Jay860
Owen841
Pulaski761
Rush744
Brown731
Fountain682
Blackford622
Ohio624
Benton600
Pike520
Parke511
Vermillion500
Switzerland450
Crawford440
Martin430
Union370
Warren221
Unassigned0202

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 98675

Reported Deaths: 3652
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin18006522
Cuyahoga13269498
Hamilton9493253
Lucas5207321
Montgomery422991
Summit3486220
Marion291945
Butler286163
Mahoning2502255
Pickaway238042
Stark1783139
Warren174238
Lorain171378
Columbiana163460
Trumbull1500106
Fairfield133231
Delaware127319
Licking122449
Clark113314
Lake108738
Wood101358
Clermont90211
Medina89635
Miami81938
Tuscarawas77214
Portage74661
Allen71844
Greene66212
Belmont61426
Richland59611
Mercer59113
Erie56427
Ashtabula55946
Geauga55244
Wayne52558
Ross4504
Huron3935
Darke38527
Ottawa37126
Sandusky36816
Athens3561
Hancock3553
Madison35310
Holmes3276
Lawrence2670
Auglaize2446
Union2371
Scioto2221
Muskingum2211
Jefferson2192
Putnam20217
Washington20022
Knox1997
Seneca1963
Coshocton1906
Shelby1864
Preble1802
Crawford1725
Morrow1682
Hardin16112
Champaign1592
Clinton1586
Highland1481
Fulton1471
Logan1452
Wyandot1428
Ashland1403
Defiance1394
Williams1323
Brown1262
Perry1213
Guernsey1167
Henry1152
Hocking1159
Carroll1105
Fayette1100
Monroe9118
Pike760
Jackson730
Van Wert711
Paulding650
Gallia621
Adams592
Meigs360
Vinton302
Morgan250
Harrison241
Noble160
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 75°
Angola
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 70°
Huntington
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 72°
Decatur
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 68°
Van Wert
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 68°
Sunny, Seasonable Saturday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events